Sunday, March 31, 2013

Another extremely committing canyon in Colombia, Rio Junambu

Joel Fedak enjoying the entry rapids, Chris Baer, colombia, junambu
Joel Fedak enjoying the entry rapids

My six-week trip to Colombia was quickly coming to a close and our team was in the southwestern corner of the country. It was going to take a solid three days of van, bus, and pick-up trucks rides to get back to Bogota and depart.

such a huge country with so much to offer

Jared Page heading towards the gorge, Chris Baer, colombia, junambu
Jared Page heading towards the gorge

One more, one more, one more, is a recurring theme in my life. After a quick discussion we realized that we could sneak out for yet one more adventure. The boys had paddled the Rio Junambu the previous year and spoke of a deep canyon with quality class 4 rapids.

smashed into the mini van , chris baer, Junambu, colombia
smashed into the mini van

Access to the canyon took a little longer then anticipated. The road had degraded over the season, and was now exceedingly jarring. Exacerbating the situation was the fact that we packed six deep into a mini van, with all three of our creek boats loaded inside the van with us.



An arching bridge marked our put in, and upon inspection the water level looked a little low. We bumped and ground our way down the river for a bit until we reached the first major tributary on the right. The confluence rewarded us with double the water. From here down there was one small tributary after the next. Unfortunately at least a couple of these tributaries are the runoff from villages far above. These streams brought in an abundance of trash and some interesting smells.

Jared Page in the boogie

As the river got bigger so did the rapids. It was fun class 4. We picked apart the rapids, finding alternative and interesting lines.

more great class 4, chris Baer, colombia Junambu
more great class 4

Jared Page entering the canyon, colombia, junambu, Chris Baer
Jared Page entering the canyon
As we approached the canyon sheer walls shot straight up. The gorge was a few hundred feet deep. It was beautiful. Unfortunately the gorge wasn't very long, so we stopped and took a small break enjoying the location and a quick snack.

our take out bridge, Chris Baer, colombia, junambu
our take out bridge

Paddling out of the canyon leads you to two different historical bridges, both are arches, and it would be really easy to misidentify the one that your shuttle driver was waiting at. After hiking the few hundred vertical feet out of the canyon we continued switchbacking our way up to the new yellow bridge at its rim. The hike was exhausting. My hope that our shuttle was in the right location dwindled, along with the light.  A handful of phone calls later we luckily contacted Yander Gavilanes a local rafter in the community. It took a few more calls and Yander re-coordinated the shuttle driver.

yes we hike to that yellow bridge, Chris Baer, colombia, junambu
yes we hike to that yellow bridge

Yander also invited us to hang out in the town of Buesaco. The next morning we took a small tour of town and of a local farm. Colombian coffee is amazing especially when it is served piping hot, feet away from where it was grown.

enjoying breakfast on the farm


the view from our 20 dollar hotel in Buesaco


The Junambu was a great way to wrap up an awesome six-week adventure in Colombia. A huge thanks to all the Colombians for making this one more trip of a lifetime!


another adventure by Chris Baer












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